Lester, Virgil Clifford
Virgil Clifford Lester, 96, of Radford, Virginia passed away on Saturday, August 14, 2021 at his home. Virgil C. Lester was born and raised in beautiful Alum Ridge, Floyd County, Virginia, where he grew up doing farm work and mechanical work.
Although he trained at Bulter University to be an Army Air Force fighter pilot, he and others were pulled out of training when the Allies lost so many men at the Battle of the Bulge. He then served the United States Army’s 343rd Infantry of the Blackhawk Division in Europe and the Philippines in World War II.
After WWII he performed construction work and became a residential contractor in the New River Valley where he built more quality homes than his family can remember. He also owned and operated an excavation business and sold and set up mobile homes. He designed, developed, and built the La Plateau Subdivision in Christiansburg, VA.
In his later years he built, owned, and operated laundromats in Christiansburg, Blacksburg, Pulaski, Fairlawn, VA, and Princeton, WV, eventually selling all but the Pulaski and Fairlawn laundromats. Along with his wife Peggy, he performed all of the maintaince work on the laundromats and a carwash until Myasthenia Gravis, diagnosed when he was 86, weakened his muscles but not his mind. At age 96 he still owned the businesses, but while his mind was still sharp, his body was no longer able to do the physical labor.
Virgil often said he was the man he was because of his praying mother.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Everette and Erdia G. Reed Lester; his first wife, Geneva D. Lester; her parents and sisters; his sisters, Aluvia (Charlie) Jennings and Pauline (Troy) Mannon; brother, Alton (Lucille) Lester; grandson, John Kevin Raysor.
He is survived by his dedicated wife, Peggy L. Lester; daughter, Nelda Kay Lester Raysor and her husband Robert (Bobb) Raysor; great-granddaughters, Brittany L. Raysor, Lindsey J. Raysor, and Celeste A. Raysor; many loving nieces and nephews; and a caretaker who became family, Becky Elswick.